Commentary & Analysis
Start-Up Label Producer Seeks Short-Run, Multi-SKU Opportunities
A new label and package printing company is open for business in Lowell, MA. It's called InTouch Labels & Packaging, and while its start-up footprint may be small, its ambitions are anything but.
By Patrick Henry
Published: July 5, 2016
A new label and package printing company is open for business in Lowell, MA. It’s called InTouch Labels & Packaging, and while its start-up footprint may be small, its ambitions are anything but.
InTouch launched on May 1 under the direction of Lauren Hayes, a 10-year veteran of label and packaging production. She and her staff of 12 run an all-digital printing operation that will concentrate on prime labels: those that deliver maximum visual impact with creative embellishments and high-end finishing techniques. Also to be produced are shrink sleeves and flexible packaging.
According to Hayes, the company already has a Maine-to-California roster of clients in beverages, nutraceuticals, and wine, beer, and spirits. She says that digital printing’s front-end automation and variable-data capability suit clients like these very well when they need quick-turnaround short runs and batches consisting of multiple SKUs. InTouch will gain a competitive edge in this type of work, Hayes says, by being equally adept at the front-end processing and the post-print finishing.
Over time, the company will acquire a mix of web- and sheetfed digital presses to stay ahead of the workload. Its mainstay device at the moment is an eight-color HP Indigo WS6800, a narrow-web press for high-volume label and packaging production. Supporting it is a near-line label converting system from ABG International. Hayes says that near-line finishing makes the most sense in a production environment like InTouch’s, where the printing equipment will be kept constantly busy with rapid successions of short runs.
She believes that brand owners will be eager to leverage what InTouch can do because of paradigm shifts in the ways they must now bring packaged products to market. As time-to-market windows get smaller and competition from other brands gets stiffer, brand owners need suppliers that can produce short runs eye-catching labels on demand, often with minimal advance notice. This is precisely the kind of service that InTouch is positioning itself to provide.
An example, says Hayes, is the work done for a customer that produces cold-pressed juices, a product with a shelf life of just a few days. When the customer places a multiple-SKU order for labels, the run must be turned around and delivered before the brief shelf life of the bottled juice expires. That’s the kind of assurance that InTouch is always prepared to give its clients, says Hayes.
She’s optimistic about growing in the markets that InTouch has targeted and is equipping itself to serve. She says “now is as good a time as any” to break into the label and packaging market with the high-end capabilities and service-focused culture that InTouch is bringing to it.